On The Bus...
The last time I wrote to you I mentioned that we had been presented with the opportunity to purchase this older model Prevost Motor-coach that had been very gently used and had fewer than 130,000 original miles on it. After prayerful consideration we decided to purchase the bus and have been, sincerely, blessed by that decision. We’ve traveled in relative luxury as compared to our previous “mini-bus” and have, until recently, had very few mechanical issues to deal with.
Earlier this year I made the poor decision to continue driving while I was extremely tired and while parking the bus in a Walmart parking lot unfortunately learned the hard way that those big yellow concrete light pole foundations don’t move, no matter what you hit them with. Obviously a very hard lesson learned. I’m thankful for good insurance and great friends who very graciously covered the deductible for us. The repair facility really made the bus look better than the day we bought it, and that’s really saying something!
One thing that doesn't seem to have been caught during those repairs is the fact that the front air conditioning had stopped working. We’ve been trying to work that problem out ever since, but to no avail. Then, couple of weeks ago, through another series of unfortunate events, our generator went out. I’ll admit that it seems, in retrospect, that I am likely responsible for that issue as well, though I’m not convinced the problem wasn’t looming prior to my spurring it on. Nevertheless, I took the bus to a local bus conversion/repair shop to have the generator looked at. While there I learned that their shop foreman was the lead repair tech for the particular conversion company that built our bus. He has very intimate knowledge of everything on our coach and I’m confident that is going to come in handy. Nevertheless, the generator engine is in great shape, but the actual power generating “stator” had cracked and had to be rewound to the tune of $3,209.75.
Since the generator has been out of the bus while being repaired we’ve been about as red-neck as any one gospel group can muster! The past few weeks we’ve rented a gasoline generator, strapped it to a trailer one weekend - a rear luggage carrier the next, and ran the “shore power” line wire-tied to the outside of the bus to provide power to the inside. Since the air conditioning is still not working up front we made use of a couple of portable air units in the front of the bus. This helps, but really doesn’t come close to doing the job that the built-in unit does.
While we were in Kansas just a few weeks ago I noticed that the transmission wasn’t acting right. By the time we got home with it the problem seemed to have worked itself out, as can be the case if it were just a clogged line or stuck solenoid. When we started the bus to leave out the next weekend, headed to Georgia, it acted like it didn’t want to go into “Drive.” We were able to make the weekend, and at one point even thought the problem had been solved by resetting the computer, but the issue resurfaced the following morning and persisted throughout the remainder of the trip. The morning after we returned home I took it to the recommended local Allison Transmission dealer who told me that they didn’t have anyone who would be able to repair it because of its age. I was able to find another shop that said they’d be able to diagnose the problem. They called the next day to tell me that we will need a new/remanufactured transmission.
Friends, I have to tell you, we are not financially prepared for this repair. The generator issue combined with the ongoing effort to repair the air conditioning has literally drained ever penny of reserve that we had put up. In order to “make the date” we will have the additional expense of hotel rooms and renting a trailer for the foreseeable future.
I have no doubt that The Lord will provide. My life and the life of every member of our group is a testament to that fact. I can tell you specific instances in our lives when God made himself evident, time and again…and I’m absolutely convinced that this circumstance will prove no different. That said, God often uses his kids to facilitate the work He has given others to do, and I would sincerely appreciate it if you would consider making a financial contribution to Freedom Quartet for the purpose of this repair. We will not have a total cost until the bus is ready to roll out of the repair facility, but we know the bill is going to run into the thousands. A friend recently told me it cost him $16,000 to replace his transmission. While I don’t expect ours will be quite that much, I know it will be significant.
If you’d like to make a contribution to Freedom Quartet to aide in the cost of these repairs you can do so through PayPal using your credit card or checking account - simply click here.
Our Debts Will Be Paid
We had anticipated the completion of this new recording in time for NQC but production delays have made it impossible for us to have the finished product by then. We will, however, have a limited supply of “Pre-Release” CD’s available with 7 of the 10 songs that will be included on the completed project.
If you purchase the digital “Pre-Release” version for only $10 NOW we will send you a coupon for $5 off of the full production version (Regularly priced $15) as soon as it is available. You can use that coupon through our online store (or in person at a concert or our office location) toward the purchase of the completed production version of the new recording OR you may use it toward the purchase of ANY CD by Freedom Quartet! The coupon is not valid on t-shirts, hats, printed materials, or the guys solo recordings.
Travel with us!
We are excited about two wonderful opportunities available for you to join us this year!
Gospel Jubilee Cruise - January 18-23, 2016
Cruise with us to Cozumel, Mexico and Grand Cayman! We have been to both of these destinations before and can tell you with absolute certainty that you will thoroughly enjoy this trip! You’ve heard about all of the wonderful things to do on-board the ships…incredible food, entertaining shows, comfortable accommodations, etc…but you haven’t seen anything until you’ve seen a bunch of gospel singers do Karaoke! This is ALWAYS one of the highlights of the cruise and no doubt it will be again! Our families are planning to join us and we hope that you will too!
Join us for a once in a lifetime trip to Northern Ireland in March! We will be leaving on March 16th for a week long tour including a wonderful weekend of great Gospel Music in The Cathedral City of Armagh. We will tour the North Coast visiting beautiful sights such as Giants Causeway, The Dark Hedges, and The Gobbling. You’ll visit Titanic Center and see where the infamous ship was built and first launched in Belfast as it set out on its fateful voyage. Roundtrip airfare can be arranged from your nearest international airport or you can opt to join us and travel from Knoxville, TN. Details of your tour package can include an extended stay in country beyond our planned return on March 23. Please email or call us to discuss these possibilities!
We are thankful to have been nominated in the Top 5 New Traditional Male Quartet’s again for 2015! That makes 2 consecutive nominations in this category which means we’ve met lot of new folks again this past year. Thank you for your confidence in us and for considering us as you sent in your final ballots. The Singing News Fan Awards will be distributed during the National Quartet Convention - less than 2 weeks from now!
Look for my ugly mug in the September issue of Singing News in a fun article with a bunch of my friends about our first cars…it’s a fun read!
We are now offering Singing News subscriptions through our online store in addition to our merchandise table at all of our concerts. The Singing News is the best source of information about all of your favorite artists in Southern Gospel Music. You will enjoy reading and might just find yourself anticipating the arrival of the magazine in your mailbox each month. Digital subscriptions are also available! CLICK HERE to subscribe right now!
The Last Word….
I cannot express to you how thankful we are for your continued support of Freedom Quartet. Throughout all of the difficult situations that we face on the road, you prove God’s faithfulness and renew our desire to continue in our work. Your kind words, thoughtful gifts, and timely contributions have made it possible for us to do what we do without interruption. Thank You doesn’t seem to convey the sentiment that I feel in my heart toward each of you. We love you and cherish your friendship. We continue to be “The Quartet that you are building” as we rely on your generosity and friendship at every turn. Your faith in us is humbling and truly encouraging. We look forward with great anticipation to each opportunity to see you somewhere on the road.